The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was founded in 1901 and is now part
of the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST is one of the nation’s oldest physical science
laboratories. Congress established the agency to remove a major challenge to U.S. industrial
competitiveness at the time—a second-rate measurement infrastructure that lagged behind
the capabilities of the United Kingdom, Germany, and other economic rivals.
From the smart electric power grid and electronic health records to atomic clocks, advanced
nanomaterials, and computer chips, innumerable products and services rely in some way on
technology, measurement, and standards provided by the National Institute of Standards and